An Introduction to the European XR (VR & AR) 3D Tools Industry


This article is based on the webinar we held on February 12, 2020. You can watch the complete session here

This time, we invited Dr Rolf Illenberger, CEO and founder of VRdirect to be our main guest. VRdirect provides a B2B Saas platform to create, manage and publish virtual reality projects. Companies like Siemens, Lufthansa or Porsche are already working with VRdirect’s platform.

As a broad definition, 3D tools are software solutions that connect hardware with applications. Within them, you have several options on the table: generation and processing of material, video games, special effects, industrial design, position systems, etc.

With the advancements in all descriptive forms of extended reality (XR)- augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR)-, 3D tools have become a useful solution to communicate space and design in a fast and reliable way. Therefore, the benefits are endless: speed, realism, precision and control, scenario visualization, reduction of lead times

The European XR 3D Tools Industry

In 2019, XR4ALL identified more than 600 startup investors active in Europe during the Q1 2015 – Q2 2019 period. All of them have been gathered in an exclusive resource: the Map of funding sources for EU XR technologies.

XR 3D tools has been the most funded vertical in Europe, with 70 funding rounds. These rounds were distributed around 36 startups, with the UK (7), France (6), and Germany (4) receiving the highest number of them. 

The European Commission programme Horizon 2020 has contributed the most with 5 funding rounds for this vertical. Then Horizons Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, aws Gründerfonds, Enterprise Ireland, and Sure Valley Ventures share the second position in providing funding for this sector with 2 rounds each.  

European startups have turned their attention to this vertical and made it the most widespread in the XR network, with 110 startups. The UK and France are both leading the way with 18 startups each producing innovative XR 3D software. 

Among all the 3D tools startups in the EU, the London-based Improbable is leading the way in terms of funding with an outstanding amount of €588.8M. Improbable has created SpatialOS, a computation platform that enables the creation of massive simulations and virtual worlds for use in video games and corporate simulations.

The next most highly funded European startups within this vertical are summarised in the following list:

  • The Future Group (Norway) is a technology and creative services company. It offers easily accessible software products and services for virtual production, which enables the creation of photorealistic graphics and visual effects in real-time.     
  • Vividly app (Latvia) provides immersive solutions for architecture, urban planning and education.     
  • Artomatix (Ireland) has developed the first creative artificial intelligence that automatically generates 3D.  
  • Gravity Sketch (UK) is a design platform for teams that create, collaborate, and review in 3D.
  • SLAMcore (UK) is developing SLAM algorithms that allow robots and drones to understand the space around them.
  • Nahimic (France), previously called A-Volute, has developed audio technology that is easy to integrate in any kind of enterprise technology or hardware.
  • Zappar (UK) is an app development company that specializes in developing augmented reality and virtual reality products.
  • Didimo (Portugal) is the leading creator of high-fidelity digital humans.
  • Moodelizer (Sweden) specializes in designing and developing music creation application software that enables the users to change music after it has been recorded.

XR & 3D Tools 

XR & 3D tools go hand in hand, and there is definitely a bright future ahead of them. Dr Rolf Illenberger, based on a report from Fortune Business Insights, points out that the global virtual reality market is expected to reach an amount of $120.5 billion in 2026

Furthermore, the data reveals that about $43bn will be related to non-gaming VR software, showing a huge market for compelling use cases within XR, such as healthcare, education, marketing and sales, automotive, and construction/prototyping/maintenance. All these industries will be affected by XR 3D technology.

Our next webinar will be on XR gaming. Stay tuned by becoming a member of XR4ALL, and follow us on social media for more European XR news!